Book ReviewSymposiumThe Corporation, Law and Capitalism

Legal form(s) beyond capitalism?

The Corporation, Law and Capitalism is an important book. With a historical-materialist focus on the legal configuration of the corporation as a legal entity, Grietje Baars shows in an exemplary way the role of law in the shaping of capitalism. As their starting point, Baars refers to a historical materialism based on the authors Pashukanis and Miéville. Accordingly, Baars assumes that property is the raison d’etre of law (p. 19). …

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Book ReviewSymposiumThe Corporation, Law and Capitalism

Rechtsform(en) jenseits des Kapitalismus?

The Corporation, Law and Capitalism ist ein wichtiges Buch. Mit einem historisch-materialistischen Fokus auf die rechtliche Konfigurierung des Unternehmens als Rechtsperson zeigt Grietje Baars exemplarisch die Rolle des Rechts für die Ausgestaltung des Kapitalismus. In ihrem Ausgangspunkt bezieht sich Baars dabei auf einen historischen Materialismus gestützt auf die Autoren Pashukanis und Miéville. Dementsprechend geht Baars davon aus, dass das Eigentum raison d’etre des Rechts sei (S. 19). Eigentum sei als …

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Book ReviewSymposiumThe Corporation, Law and Capitalism

Seeking corporate accountability for human rights

Concealment and congealment in international law

The Corporation, Law and Capitalism provided a fantastically refreshing (if a little depressing) counter-narrative of international (criminal) law’s intimate relationship with capital, and the paradoxical effect this has on attempts to hold corporations accountable for their actions. In the field of business and human rights (BHR), we try to utilise law (in its various forms) as a tool to ensure justice for rightsholders who have been negatively affected by corporate …

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Book ReviewSymposiumThe Corporation, Law and Capitalism

Working toward the world we want to live in

Introducing the book symposium on Grietje Baars’ “The Corporation, Law and Capitalism: A Radical Perspective on the Role of Law in the Global Political Economy”

Grietje Baars’ recently published book The Corporation, Law and Capitalism is a powerful intervention on multiple accounts. Baars’ study spearheads and complements a newly revived Marxist legal tradition in the footsteps of Soviet legal theorist Evgeny Pashukanis, whose work on “The General Theory of Law and Marxism” (1924) pioneered the commodity-form theory of law. Pashukanis’ main argument is that the commodity form and the legal form follow the same logic, …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

“No Quarter for Insurrectionists”

The troubling international legal implications of the political response to the Black Lives Matter protests

As protests against police brutality and systemic racism have broken out in the United States following the murder of George Floyd, American politicians’ rhetoric has taken on a militant tone to counter the citizens’ Constitutional right to protest. In a call to U.S. Governors, President Trump admonished states for being too lax in their response and encouraged them to respond in such a way that would send protestors to ”jail …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Ohrenbetäubendes Schweigen

Zur Blockade des Sicherheitsrates im Kampf gegen Covid-19

Die aktuelle Covid-19 Pandemie präsentiert sich als globale Krise nationaler Alleingänge. Das liegt auch am Sicherheitsrat (SR) der Vereinten Nationen (VN), der sich seit Wochen nicht auf eine Resolution einigen kann und so sein Koordinierungspotential nicht realisiert. Politisch ist dieses Schweigen verheerend. Juristisch gesehen verpasst es der SR, an seine vorigen Resolutionen zur Eindämmung von Epidemien anzuknüpfen. In der laufenden Diskussion (hier und hier) zeigt sich nun jedoch, dass die …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Bewaffnete Drohnen für die Bundeswehr?

Zur Völkerrechtmäßigkeit bewaffneter Drohneneinsätze

Die Bundeswehr setzt inzwischen regelmäßig Drohnen im Ausland ein. Ihr Arsenal umfasst eine Vielzahl von Modellen (darunter die Aufklärungsdrohne Heron 1 in Mali). Die bislang eingesetzten Drohnen dienen allerdings allein der Aufklärung und so dem Schutz der Soldatinnen und Soldaten. Eine Debatte ist nun erneut darüber entbrannt, ob und inwiefern die Bundeswehr Drohnentechnologie erwerben und später einsetzen darf, die mit abschussbereiten Waffen an Bord ausgestattet ist und Angriffe fliegen kann. …

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Current Developments

Robert Koch, research and experiment in the colonial space

Or: Subjugating the non-European under the old international law

German colonialism is an inherent part of both German and global history, yet largely neglected and transcended into the vast depths of oblivion. As Jutta Blume wrote recently in an article for the German newspaper der Freitag, ‘the emergence of ‘tropical medicine’ (Tropenmedizin) is inextricably linked to the height of colonialism at the end of the 19th century’. Considering the current pandemic and the daily briefings, which the Robert-Koch-Institute provided …

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Current Developments

“Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake”

Legal fragmentation in the context of the Rohingya proceedings before the ICJ and ICC

The parallelism of different international proceedings examining atrocity crimes committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar has been welcomed by many commentators. Indeed, international law (IL) appears to be showing its strength, pursuing individual as well as state responsibility for the repelling wrongdoings committed against the Muslim group of Rakhine State. Nonetheless, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) simultaneously dealing with legal questions embedded in …

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Current Developments

The right to benefit from Big Data progress

Another argument for Universal Basic Income

Recent developments in the United States and Europe have focused attention on the possible obligation of Big Data-powered technology companies like Google and Facebook to share some of their corporate profits to users of their service. During the US Democratic Party presidential debates leading to the 2020 elections, candidate Andrew Yang, a proponent of a Universal Basic Income scheme for the US, argued that every American should get a check …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

The case for global constitutionalism in pandemic times

As the first shock wave caused by the Covid-19 has partially passed, the conditions and effects of the epidemic and even the post-pandemic process started to be discussed among international public law scholars. So far, the “online” debates among international lawyers seem to focus on a few issues, and one of the solid topics emerging from these debates is the question of whether we are currently witnessing the end of …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Creating a kingdom of stone walls

The crisis in India’s emergency communication strategy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

India has 376 million active social media users, out of which 66 million are aged between 5 and 11 years, suggesting that a significant number of India’s demographics on social media are school children. Such a vulnerable demographic coupled with the rampant media censorship has created a labyrinth of misinformation on social media in the past. Similarly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Social media is flooded with fake news – ranging …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

To sue or not to sue

Enforcing the obligation to notify under the international health regulations

Various areas of international law highlight the value of information and the essential role of the obligation to notify in fulfilling other duties. The current COVID-19 global crisis has further stressed the significance of notification requirements, given the hypothesized possibility that the pandemic could have been averted had the obligation to notify been fulfilled. Through International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) cases that analyze this obligation, mainly relative to the customary …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Racial violence and COVID-19

A brief reflection on the coloniality of power in pandemic times

Since COVID-19 emerged, Western discourse vivifies the exclusion and objectification of racial groups regarding both a responsible subject and potential solutions to the pandemic. These solutions articulate political interests instead of addressing the common interests and needs of the entire international population. Western discourse during the pandemic particularly affects the African continent and phenotypically Asian people. It is expression of the still prevailing coloniality of the international structure of power …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Claims after COVID?

COVID-19 and state defenses in response to investment claims

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc – not only by taking the lives of thousands of people across the world but also by impacting the national and international economy. The pandemic has disrupted business in all of its manifestations and caused millions of workers to be laid off. Many companies, including those owned and run by foreign investors, are subjected to an unprecedented host of state measures. These unexpected circumstances have …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Testing Europe: COVID-19 and the rule of law

“Sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” wrote the notorious constitutional law scholar Carl Schmitt in 1922 in his work Political Theology, “exception” understood as measures undertaken in a state of emergency. The democratic constitutions of Europe are grounded on the notion of popular sovereignty; Article 20 of the German Basic Law, for example, states that “[a]ll state authority is derived from the people”. The Treaty on European Union …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

A burden to share

The need to acknowledge the complexity of member state differences in the Eurozone

The spread of the Coronavirus disease prompts the question whether EU Member states should show solidarity and, if so, to what extent. It is clear that Italy is one of the European countries to have been severely struck by the consequences of the spread of the Coronavirus disease 2019. The lock-down and restrictions for public life have a dire effect on the Italian economy. As a consequence, Italy has called …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Vulnerability in times of Corona

Guidelines from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Right to Health

Two years ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court) issued a seminal ruling regarding the right to health established in Article 26 of the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). For the first time ever, it held a State Party to be internationally responsible for not guaranteeing non-discriminatory access to health services (previously discussed here and here). In the same case, the Court also established the justiciability of the …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

The Corona effect

On complex causality in the international anti-corruption arena

Can the flap of a bat’s wings in Hunan, China, send global markets into freefall and threaten democracy in the Americas? Today, most of us would answer in the affirmative – perhaps proof that Konrad Lorenz’s butterfly effect theory, which he first wrote about in 1972, is more relevant than ever. Catherine Mackinnon aside, few in the legal world have argued for complex causality in dynamic, unstable systems. Yet, the …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Beauty and the virus

Fashion brands, the UNGPs and (imagined) solidarity in pandemic times

Many parts of the world are in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As most of Europe was hit hard by the virus and its rapid spread, countries implemented lockdown measures, varying in reach, style and enforcement, but with a main commonality to close down facilities deemed non-essential. Consequently, apparel stores had to close their doors and customers have been restricted to online-shopping, resulting in a vast drop in demand. …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Look for everyday solidarity

International law in pandemic times

The absent global leadership and starkly uncoordinated cross-border responses have exacerbated the spread of the coronavirus. On a positive note, countries are progressively joining forces to address immediate humanitarian appeals. They are engaging with diverse partners and experimenting on novel funding approaches through various forums, including the Coronavirus Global Response and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. These partnerships are bringing light to the spirit of solidarity. We want to …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

Symposium: International law in pandemic times

Today we kick off our symposium on „International law in pandemic times“. International lawyers have started to debate the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on a range of fora (see here, here and here). With this symposium, we want to pluralize these discussions, but also take a step back and reflect on the very terms and frameworks within which international lawyers currently understand and debate the pandemic. We thus invited contributions from perspectives …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Follow the money and see where it goes – Unmasking the EU’s Libya programme

On the EU’s involvement in human rights violations committed by Libyan actors against migrants

On 20 May 2020, Philipp Dann, Michael Riegner and Lena Zagst presented on this blog the complaint before the European Court of Auditors (CoA), which a group of NGOs led by the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) submitted about a month ago. The authors had provided an expert opinion to the complaint, claiming that the EU’s “Libya Programme” violated EU budget and constitutional law. The authors argue that the EU’s …

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Current Developments

Bouncers beyond Borders

On the (il)legality of EU funding for the Libyan coast guard

Over the past two years, the EU has spent almost 100 million Euro to improve the Libyan coast guard’s ability to implement a “Search and Rescue Zone” in the Mediterranean. This financial cooperation is now the object of a legal complaint, filed by a coalition of NGOs led by the Global Legal Action Network. The complaint alleges that financial support for the Libyan coast guard violates European and international law. …

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Current DevelopmentsMedia

Vortrag: Grundrechte schützen – eine grenzenlose Verpflichtung?

Aufzeichnung des Heidelberger Kreises vom 7. Mai 2020

Der Völkerrechtsblog veröffentlicht die Aufzeichnung des digitalen Vortrags von Erik Tuchtfeld, Redaktionsmitglied des Völkerrechtsblogs, auf Einladung des Heidelberger Kreises am 07. Mai 2020: Grundrechte schützen – eine grenzenlose Verpflichtung? Der Heidelberger Kreis ist eine im Jahr 1946 gegründete studentische Vortragsgesellschaft an der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, die sich zum Ziel gesetzt hat, den fächerübergreifenden und parteipolitisch sowie konfessionell neutralen Gedankenaustausch zu fördern. Sie lädt zu diesem Zweck Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler sowie andere …

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Current Developments

The role of soft law in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases

In an increasingly globalised world, health issues transcend the domain of national legislation. This holds true not only for infectious diseases, as seen with the current outbreak of the Corona-Virus, but also for non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, cancer, obesity or cardiovascular diseases. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the latter are the leading global cause of death by killing 41 million people each year worldwide. A considerable …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

La solidarité dans le droit international: entre mythe et réalité

Le droit international n’est pas toujours conforme à l’image que l’on veut lui donner, et qu’en donne les internationalistes, qu’ils soient positivistes ou relativistes. Les critères sont relatifs et ne peuvent être tranchés dans un sens ou dans l’autre car il ne s’agit pas de pures visions subjectives. Aussi paradoxal que cela peut paraître, le droit international est tel quel à travers la manifestation des volontés étatiques. Cependant, il est …

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Current Developments

24.000 EUR – für eine Auskunft?!

Das intransparente EU-Kostenrecht erschwert den Zugang zu Gerichten

Offenlegung: Einer der Autoren dieses Beitrags arbeitet als Syndikusanwalt für FragDenStaat und ist unmittelbar in den Rechtsstreit mit Frontex involviert.   23.700,81 EUR hat Frontex, die Europäische Agentur für die Grenz- und Küstenwache, im Februar Luisa Izuzquiza und Arne Semsrott als Kosten externer Rechtsberatung in Rechnung gestellt. Die Transparenz-Aktivist*innen der Organisationen Corporate Europe Observatory bzw. FragDenStaat hatten die EU-Behörde auf Zugang zu Informationen über Grenzschutz-Patrouillenschiffe in Anspruch genommen (Hintergrund hier) …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

How behavioural law can promote sustainable development

An overview of the potential and challenges

The idea that human society and peoples should develop in a sustainable way can be traced back to ancient cultures, practices and legal traditions. However, only recently there is an observable increase in conflicts throughout the world between the demands of economic development, the environment, and human rights. This has led to an emphasis on sustainable development in national, European, and international law and policy. This emphasis on sustainable development …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Could “Net”-Zero Emissions prove to be a fatal blow for climate justice?

In 2015, after intense lobbying efforts and to the frustration of many climate justice activists, the Human Rights dimension of climate change was included not in the text, but only the preamble to the Paris Agreement. In the aftermath of the agreement, John Knox – at the time UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment – stated that „the Paris Agreement signifies the recognition by the international community …

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Current Developments

The treaty to end all investment treaties

The Termination Agreement of intra-EU BITs and its effect on sunset clauses

23 member states of the European Union (EU) decided that it was time to fish or cut bait. On 5 May they signed a plurilateral treaty to scrap all intra-EU bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in force between them (Termination Agreement). The timing may seem suspicious as arguments have been made that certain governmental measures adopted to stem the current Sars-Cov 2 pandemic could violate investment treaties. However, the Termination Agreement …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Art. XX GATT 1994 – Climate change and disadvantaged nations

As signs of a looming climate catastrophe emerge, international law scholars and lawyers frequently seek additional paths to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions and to protect the environment. On a regular basis, their eyes turn towards the legal order of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Partly, this is due to the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism (DSM), since an equivalent compulsory system of adjudication is wanting in international environmental law. In this regard, …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Securing pathways to environmental justice for indigenous women

Multilateral Development Banks and environmental violence in the Americas

Across the Americas, Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) or the World Bank (WB), finance public and private projects to support the development of the region. Although these projects often participate to the improvement of socio-economic conditions, they may also adversely impact the rights of local communities, cause severe damages to the environment, and fuel the climate crisis. In particular, Indigenous women have been disproportionately …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Access to justice and climate-related disasters: Do we need “disaster justice”?

The world is experiencing an increasing number of disasters, both those caused by natural hazards and those linked to human activities, and this fact renders cooperation and coordination at the international level more and more important in the field of disaster (risk) management. Although it is a subject that has been actively discussed at the international level, available remedies in current international law for individuals affected by disasters are still …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Klimagerechtigkeit – ein Recht auf Heimat?

Das Thema Klimagerechtigkeit hat in den letzten Jahren viel Aufmerksamkeit erfahren. Die explizite Aufnahme von Klimagerechtigkeit in die Präambel des Pariser Übereinkommens von 2015 wurde sowohl von Aktivisten als auch Umweltrechtlern als Meilenstein gewertet. Dabei hat sich das Prinzip der Klimagerechtigkeit aus dem Konzept der Umweltgerechtigkeit (environmental justice) über die Jahrzehnte entwickelt. Ging es Umweltaktivisten der ersten Stunde noch um die gerechte geographische Verteilung von Nachteilen, die aus der Nutzung …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Displacement in connection with climate change: does transitional justice offer a lens for durable solutions?

Forced displacement is not a recent phenomenon. However, in recent years, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that there are over 65.6 million persons forcibly displaced from their homes as a result of conflicts, disasters, persecution, and other factors. In fact, the number of individuals forcibly displaced is the highest since the Second World War. Given this unprecedented number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide, corresponding protection …

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Climate JusticeSymposium

Democratising international climate law

Reflections on a global citizens’ climate assembly

Government centred action has so far failed to respond adequately to the climate crisis, opening the space for new governance experiments, including through subnational coalitions, social movements and private standards. In the search for new ideas to facilitate the necessary transformations to move to a low-carbon economy, climate citizens’ assemblies – randomly selected representative citizens gathered to make recommendations on how to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets – have recently …